Shelter / Everyday Life / The shelter dwellers – Ryabka

The shelter dwellers – Ryabka

One sais a good story should have a happy end. But the one which is really unforgettable is perhaps another kind. So this time I tell you a story we volunteers of KCPA never forget.

An elder lady who worked a school head before her retirement found once a dog near the road. The dog has been hit by a car. It has stayed there for many days if not weeks without any help. One can’t imagine how much the poor thing suffered unnoticed! It was found in the last stage of dystrophy, with gangrene of its broken hind legs. The veterinarian had to amputate them, but the dog survived due to selfless care of its saviour. The lady named it Ryabka, the speckled.

Time passed, and over seventy years old lady called the head of Gostomel shelter Asia Serpinskaya. “I bear a pacemaker and if something happens to me Ryabka will be thrown away mercilessly”, she said. Considering her own end, the lady cared for crippled dog she rescued once. The street means death for a dog without two legs, you know.

I was listening to Asia telling the story when I thought: people like this elder lady can pay back at least partially for that endless animals’ devotion… How great it is that exactly this person was teaching children for her entire life!

The teacher lady spent many hours in a train from Lubny to Kyiv to hand Ryabka over. In the shelter it moved into a personal apartment, the room for recovery after a surgery. Every volunteer was deeply touched by the dog’s will to live, energy and commutability. It looked a miracle indeed that someone who suffered that hard remains so friendly and open.

The winter 2006-2007 was very cold in Ukraine. Low temperatures at the background of Ryabka’s limited mobility and generally broken health provoked its illness. Gostomel shelter can’t afford a full time vet, so the dog had to wait for the transport to Kyiv where it was finally examined. The diagnosis left open questions so we invited another vet. His alternative diagnosis was nothing common with the first one! Third vet – any yet another diagnosis… It was obvious at that stage: the dog is too weak to survive any drastic drugs or antibiotics. So we passed Ryabka to an expert in intensive yet sparing therapy. Unfortunately even best care did not do the thing this time.

Four years elapsed, but we volunteers still accuse ourselves of being unable to save Ryabka. It was our symbol of miracles that happen, and what the true kindness can do! But probably no volunteer alone can eliminate the primary reason. Gostomel shelter just had no money to employ a full time vet to examine the animals timely, and after four years it still has no. So we volunteers are not only missing that smiling speckled dog; we dread the story can repeat again…

Oleksiy Kosenkov
January 2007 - December 2010